a result of a conservative childhood, in a denomination that does not ordain women
She stands in the pulpit,
A fraud and she hopes that no one notices.
A fake, a charlatan, a pretender
A counterfeit ecclesiastic,
Not part of the gentrified male society that constitutes the priesthood.
She stands there with her people expectant, waiting.
Her unclean blood staining her hands
As she handles the Word,
The stains, rust colored and dried, flake off onto the burnished wood.
Suddenly her perspective shifts, and her world has skewed off its’ axis.
She stands there as if she were offal being placed on the communion table,
Unholy and unsanctified, abhorrent and odious.
Worth nothing of value, not meriting sacrifice.
Her sin condemns her and cannot be sent away for
There would never be sufficent scarlet wool or a wilderness large enough.
Self-loathing was consumes her.
The ache of it makes her voice and hands shake.
All around her are the acres of green carpet, the rustle of paper,
Small coughs to clear throats, the cry of a baby.
She brushes at the dried blood.
She stands there her eyes closed and breathes – “God help me through this.”
And she remembers His blood, and the sin, the suffering, the sacrifice.
She remembers the empty tomb and the resurrection.
The stains that are the most detestable will be as if they never were,
All is forgiven, they will be no more.
She breathes and in the depth of the second breath, she remembers –
Mary at the empty tomb -- all
The women at the tomb, the woman at the well
And the woman who begged for the crumbs.
He knew women, he loved women, he cared for women.
He cares for her.
She breathes deeply and looks out among His people.
Filled with the Breath, she can look out with assurance.
Her hands no longer shake as
She opens the book and proclaims:
“The Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.”